CALUMET CITY – There were positives for Lemont’s football team to take away from Friday’s 41-40 loss to Thornton Fractional North, including nearly overcoming a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit.
But when each game is vital in trying to reach the postseason for a 10th consecutive season, moral victories don’t go very far.
“The kids were resilient and they never gave up,” Lemont coach Eric Michaelsen said. “But we didn’t play well at the beginning. We lacked some intensity.”
Slow starts have plagued the Indians throughout 2013, and this time around the visitors faced a 21-0 deficit after the opening six minutes.
The margin remained the same, 41-20, heading into the final 12 minutes, where Lemont rattled off three straight scores, the last of which pulled the Indians to within one point with 13 seconds remaining.
The visitors decided to go for the win with a 2-point conversion, but a pass from quarterback Ryan Dawson, who took over under center in the fourth quarter, fell incomplete. Dawson had scored the final touchdown moments earlier on a quarterback sneak.
“We had the momentum,” Michaelsen said. “I thought we would make it.”
The loss put a damper on some impressive individual performances. Julio Aleman rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns while Michael Larkins added three rushing scores. Wideout Jimmy Kepouros hauled in seven passes for 107 yards.
Now the Indians must have a short memory as they travel to take on Bremen tonight.
The Braves are currently leading the South Suburban Blue conference with a perfect 5-0 mark.
“Right now they are the class of the conference,” Michaelsen said.
“They are athletic, fast, physical and well coached. They run a spread offense with a good quarterback, good runners and good wide receivers. And defensively, they are very fast and aggressive.
“We will show up and hopefully play to our capability. If we play to our capability, we have a chance.”
At this point, Michaelsen is looking for an all-around complete game from his team.
“We will continue to work hard and get after it,” he said.
“We have to improve. It’s Week 8 and we should be there.”